Householders were left reeling after they were turned away from their local tip – and told to go to another seven miles away.
Motorists arriving at the revamped Farington waste disposal centre near Leyland with cars full of rubbish found the gates locked. Staff said they had been forced to close because the skips were all full.
They had no idea when they site would reopen, and advised customers to travel to Ingol in Preston or return the next day.
Traffic queuing to turn round caused tailbacks on the busy bypass outside the tip.
One visitor said: “I had loaded the car to the roof and had tied the tailgate down.
“I only did that because I was going a short distance to the tip but was then told it was shut, and they didn’t know when it was going to re-open.
“I couldn’t very well leave the rubbish piled in the car so had no choice but to risk driving, very slowly, all the way to Ingol.
“I purposely hadn’t gone on Saturday or Sunday because the weather had been nice so I expected it to have been busy – so why weren’t they prepared?”
Janine Lund, Lancashire County Council waste management officer, said: “The new split-level site at Farington means it no longer has to close for safety reasons in order to change over the skips, and the past weekend was the first time the site had closed since January 2014.”
She added: “This was due to a unique set of circumstances – the site was extremely busy at the weekend and our contractor SITA also experienced problems with some of their vehicles, which meant the full skips could not be changed and unfortunately we had no choice but to close the site.”
She said the site was geared up to deal with extra demand as the weather improves to avoid a repeat.